Posted in FRANCISCAN, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The WORD

19 February 2018 – Monday of the First Week of Lent

19 February 2018 – Monday of the First Week of Lent

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18, Psalms 19:8-10, 15, Matthew 25:31-46

Levitus 19:1-2 – And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.
Matthew 25:34-36 – Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’monday of the first week of lent - 19 feb 2018

We are definitely off now.   Lent has really begun.
It begins with a programme for us, proposed by God Himself!
Deeper holiness, more evident godliness is the aim of Lent for us and for whole Church.
Ultimately, the litmus test of our faith is in how we respond to those in need:  the hungry, the lonely, the stranger, the sick and the prisoner.   We could add to this list – those who are survivors of abuse, refugees looking for a place of safety and many who so despair in finding work.
God identifies with all these so powerfully.   What we do or neglect to do for those in need is our response to God.
Sometimes we may feel a sense of ‘compassion fatigue’ – the whole world seems to be such a huge mess and there is so much need all around us.   How, where do we begin?   It may just feel easier to close our eyes to it.   And too, we may experience fear for our own safety.
But despite these obstacles, God is challenging us.   Often there are simple things that can make a big difference – a smile, a word of conversation and encouragement, soup delivered to a family in need, a visit to an elderly neighbour.   If we try it, because God is God, we shall find that we receive far more than we give!   Be not afraid, for I am with you! “The Lord will overshadow you and you will find refuge under his wings” (Communion Antiphon for today).

Can I slow down enough today to be fully present to someone in need – even just with a smile and a little chat?
What is my biggest obstacle in reaching out to others?
What grace do I most need from God?

(Excerpt Fr Nicholas King SJ – The Lenten Journey to Easter & The Long Journey to the Resurrection)

Prayer to do the Will of God
By St Francis of Assisi

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery, the grace to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do
and always to desire, what pleases You.
Thus, inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow in the footprints of
Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, by Your grace alone, may we make our way to You,
Most High, Who live and rule in perfect Trinity and simple Unity
and are glorified God all-powerful, forever and ever.
Amen.
(From “A Letter to the Entire Order”)

almighty eternal just and merciful god - st francis - 19 sept 2018

 

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Posted in FRANCISCAN, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 6 February – The Memorial of St Paul Miki S.J. (1564/65-1597) & Companions – 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki

Thought for the Day – 6 February – The Memorial of St Paul Miki S.J. (1564/65-1597) & Companions – 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki

Twenty-six Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries and Japanese converts crucified together by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Following their arrests, they were taken to the public square of Meako to the city’s principal temple.   They each had a piece of their left ear cut off and then paraded from city to city for weeks with a man shouting their crimes and encouraging their abuse.   The priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the lay people of supporting and aiding them.  They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity.   They each declined.   Today, a new era has come for the Church in Japan.   Although the number of Catholics is not large, the Church is respected and has total religious freedom.   The spread of Christianity in the Far East is slow and difficult.   Faith such as that of the 26 martyrs is needed today as much as in 1597.

These Martyrs died an horrendous and agonising death in witness to their faith in Jesus Christ.   We may not be called to make such a sacrifice but we are all called to bear witness to Him, very often this will result in broken ‘friendships’, ostracisation, bad ‘vibes’ around us, loneliness and feelings of being rejected – remember these utterly courageous Martyrs, pray for their intercession and bear your sufferings in silence!

MARTYRS OF NAGASAKI, PRAY FOR US!martyrs-of-nagasaki-pray-for-us-2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 4 February – The Memorial of St Joseph of Leonissa O.F.M. CAP (1556-1612)

One Minute Reflection – 4 February – The Memorial of St Joseph of Leonissa O.F.M. CAP (1556-1612)

Clearly you are a letter of Christ which I have delivered, a letter written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh in the heart….2 Corinthians 3:3

REFLECTION – “Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel. This is what St Paul says to the Corinthians.   Our heart is the parchment;  through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because ‘my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe’ (Psalm 45:1).”….St Joseph of Leonissaevery christian must be a living book - st joseph of leonissa - 4 feb 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God, You made Saint Joseph of Leonessa, an illustrious preacher of the gospel. Through his prayers inflame us with love and with his zeal for souls that we may serve You alone. St Joseph of Leonissa, pray for us, amen.st joseph of leonissa - pray for us - 4 feb 2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 February – Saint Jane of Valois O.Ann.M (1464-1505)

Saint of the Day – 4 February – Saint Jane of Valois O.Ann.M and T.O.S.F (1464-1505) Princess, Queen, Founder, Religious Sister, Mystic, Teacher.   St Jane was born a Princess as Jeanne de France, Jeanne de Valois on 23 April 1464 – 4 February 1505) and was briefly Queen of France as wife of King Louis XII, in between the death of her brother, King Charles VIII and the annulment of her marriage.   After that, she retired to her domain, where she soon founded the monastic Order of the Sisters of the Annunciation of Mary.   From this Order later sprang the religious congregation of the Apostolic Sisters of the Annunciation, founded in 1787 to teach the children of the poor. She was Beatified on 18 June 1742 by Pope Benedict XIV and canonised on 28 May 1950 by Pope Pius XIIand is known as Saint Joan of Valois, O.Ann.M.st joan valois header

Saint Jane of Valois, the daughter of Louis XI, king of France, was born April 23, 1464. Favoured with great gifts of mind and heart from her earliest years, she despised the pomp of the court and sought her joy in solitude, prayer and meditation.   This manner of life greatly displeased her proud and morose father as being unworthy of a royal princess and he always treated her harshly.st joan valois

Saint Jane, however, bore it patiently and complained of her sufferings only to God.   She once had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and said to her:

“Be consoled, my daughter!   A time will still come when you will belong to me entirely. A   large group of young women consecrated to God will join you in serving me and proclaiming my praise everywhere.”

At these words a stream of heavenly consolation flooded Jane’s soul and she resolved anew to persevere in the service of God, cost what it might.st joan valois 3

Her divinely guided director, Blessed Gabriel Mary or Father Gilbert Nicolas, a Franciscan, encouraged her in her resolution and was her support and director on the way to perfection.   From him she also received the habit of the Third Order.  From then on she entertained the thought of entering a convent in order to live and die as a bride of the Crucified but suddenly her father announced his decision that she should marry Louis, Duke of Orleans and she was to obey without remonstrance.   In filial obedience and for love of God Jane made this difficult sacrifice in the year 1486.

Her marriage was not a happy one.   Even before the ceremony took place, Duke Louis protested secretly before a notary and witnesses that he yielded to force and was marrying against his will, in order to escape the anger of the king.   He always treated Saint Jane of Valois as a stranger and if he ever permitted her to appear before him, he reproached and ill treated her.   When Duke Louis ascended to the throne of France in the year 1498 as Louis XII, his first act was to send the queen a bill of divorce.   Because of the compulsion employed, the pope declared the marriage null and void.   Jane accepted this great humiliation with a heart resigned to God and said:

“God has now detached me from the world and has made it possible for me to serve Him better than heretofore.”

She now repaired to Bourges and there the revelation that had been made to her in her youth was to be realised.   She united a group of young women to form a religious community which would devote itself to the special veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Her regular confessor, Father Gilbert, drew up the statutes, which treat in ten chapters on imitating the ten virtues of the Blessed Virgin:  the chastity, prudence, humility, faith, obedience, compassion, devotion, poverty, patience and piety of Mary.

In the year 1500 Pope Alexander VI approved this new institute, the members of which were called Sisters of the Annunciation of Mary, or Annunciades.   The pope placed them under the obedience of the minister general of the Franciscans and gave Father Gilbert the name of Gabriel Mary.   Jane herself took the veil in the convent of Bourges which she had built and on Pentecost, 1503, she pronounced her solemn vows.

Having for so long a time been prepared in the school of suffering and humiliation, she soon reached the summit of religious perfection and was ripe for heaven.   God called Saint Jane of Valois to Himself on 4 February 1505.   Her body was entombed in the church of the Annunciation and many miracles occurred at her tomb.

In the year 1562, the heretical Huguenots stormed the city of Bourges.   Also the convent and the church of the Annunciades were plundered and destroyed.   They tore Jane’s body, which was still incorrupt, out of the vault and when they pierced it with swords, blood flowed from the wounds.   The holy body was then burned.   This kind of activity by these heretics puts the lie to their claim to be “reformers” of the faith, or even followers of Christ.   Like the Pharaoh at the time of Moses, the miracle they had just witnessed only hardened their hearts in sin.

*from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm

Posted in FRANCISCAN, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)

Quote of the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)

“Speaking of Prayer”

The heart-rending and beautiful words of another Martyr, St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941), on the power of prayer.

The day was long,
The burden I had borne
Seemed heavier than I could longer bear
And then it lifted but I did not know
Some one had knelt in prayer;
Had taken me to God, that very hour,
And asked the easing of the load and He,
In infinite compassion, had stooped down
And taken it from me.
We cannot tell how often, as we pray
For some bewildered one,
Hurt and distressed,
The answer comes,
But many times those hearts,
find sudden peace and rest.
Someone had prayed and Faith,
a reaching hand,
Took hold of God
and brought Him down, that day!
So many, many hearts have need of prayer.
Oh, let us pray!

St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941)the day was long - st maximillian kolbe - 3 feb 2018

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – – 28 January – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor angelicus (Angelic Doctor) and Doctor communis (Common Doctor)

Sunday Reflection – – 28 January – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor angelicus (Angelic Doctor) and Doctor communis (Common Doctor)

Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM – Preacher to the Papal Household – “This is My Body”

The Eucharist is the Father’s gift to the world.   The mystery contained in the words: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16) is made present in every Mass.   In the priest who offers us the body and blood of Christ at the moment of Communion, we can see, with the eyes of faith, the Father in person, who comes to give us “the bread of heaven, the true bread” and says: “Take, this is the body of my Only Begotten Son, which I have given for you.”

Not only does the Father give us the Eucharist, He also gives Himself in the Eucharist because there is only one indivisible divine nature, in receiving the divinity of the Son, we also receive the Father.   “Whoever sees me sees the Father,” also means “whoever receives me, receives the Father.”

One day (it was the Saturday of the Second Week of Lent) after listening to the Gospel passage of the parable of the Prodigal Son, I understood clearly that Communion offered me, there and then, the incredible opportunity of receiving the Father’s forgiving embrace – and not only mentally!

Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM – Preacher to the Papal Household – “This is My Body” (out of interest, this entire book is a series of lectures to the Holy Father and his household, who was St John Paul at the time, (during the Year of the Eucharist 2004-2005) on St Thomas Aquinas, Adore Te Devote.the eucharist is god's gift to the world - fr raneiro - 28 jan 2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote/s of the Day – 23 January – The Memorial of St Ildephonsus (607-667) and St Marianne Cope (1838-1918)

Quote/s of the Day – 23 January – The Memorial of St Ildephonsus (607-667) and St Marianne Cope (1838-1918)

“No one will ever be
the servant of the Son
without serving the Mother.”no one will ever be - st ildephonsus - 23 jan 2018

“Go to Mary and sing her praises
and you will be enlightened.
For it is through her,
that the true Light
shines on the sea of this life.”

St Ildephonsus (607-667)go to mary - st ildephonsus - 23 jan 2018

“Creep down into the heart of Jesus.
He alone can comfort you in your
supreme hour of sorrow.”creep down into the heart of Jesus - st marianne cope - 2017

“Let us make the very best use of the precious moments
and do all in our power for His dear sake
and for His greater honour and glory…………
I do not think of reward;
I am working for God and do so cheerfully.”let-us-make - st marianne cope - 2017

“Try to accept what God
is pleased to give you
no matter how bitter –
‘God wills it’,
is the thought
that will strengthen you
and help you over
the hard places
if we wish to be
true children of God.”

“Our dear
heavenly Mother Mary…
how little do our trials
and sorrows appear
when compared
to her bitter sufferings.”

St Marianne Cope (1838-1918)try to accept what god - st marianne cope - 23 jan 2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 6 January – The Memorial of Sts André Bessette C.S.C. (1845-1937) and St Charles of Sezze O.F.M. (1613-1670)

Thought for the Day – 6 January – The Memorial of Sts André Bessette C.S.C. (1845-1937) and St Charles of Sezze O.F.M. (1613-1670)

Both the Saints whose Memorials we celebrate today, lived their lives as simple porters, gardeners and the like.   But they both lived their lives in total charity and love of God.    And they are both saints.   They fulfilled their tasks with love and utter commitment to God their Father.   And through their faithfulness to these little things, God rewarded them with great things.

Since God through the Holy Spirit is the giver of charity and since true charity is beyond the capacity of human nature left to its own devices, God can give it without reference to natural gifts like intelligence.   And this seems true in the case of the uncharitable:  there are plenty of examples of intelligent people who lack charity—the “evil genius” is a standard literary character for a reason.   (Br. Bonaventure Chapman, OP)  But today also offers us a positive example of two men graced with charity which is love and is not love both question and answer and the new commandment given us.   What more is needed by the grace of God?

St André Bessette and St Charles of Sezze, Pray for us!st andre bessette pray for us -6 jan 2018st charles of sezze pray for us - 6 jan 2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 January – St Charles of Sezze O.F.M. (1613-1670)

Saint of the Day – 6 January – St Charles of Sezze O.F.M. (1613-1670) Stigmatist, Religious Friar, Mystic, Writer, Advisor.   St Charles was born on 19 October 1613 at Sezze, Roman Campagna, Italy as  Giancarlo Marchioni – 6 January 1670 at San Francesco a Ripa, Rome, Italy of natural causes.   His body is entombed at the Church of Saint Francis in Rome.   He became a religious despite the opposition of his parents who wanted him to become a priest and he led an austere life doing menial tasks such as acting as a porter and gardener;   he was also a noted writer.   St Charles was held in high esteem across the Lazio region with noble families like the Colonna and Orsini praising him and seeking his counsel as did popes such as Innocent X and Clement IX.   His beatification was celebrated in 1882 while Pope Pius XII approved his canonisation in 1958; but the pope died before he could canonise the friar so his successor Pope John XXIII did so on 12 April 1959.   His body is incorrupt.118charles7charles of sezze centenary

Giancarlo Marchioni was born in Sezze on 19 October 1613 to the poor farmers Ruggero Marchioni and Antonia Maccione.   His baptism was celebrated on 22 October 1613.  His mother – when he was a toddler – liked to dress him in a dark tunic with a cord and hood in honour of friars Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua and she kept this ‘habit’ even after he outgrew it.

His maternal grandmother Valenza Pilorci instilled devout practices and other religious values within him in his childhood.   He worked on the farm as a shepherd to help his parents with the exhaustive workload and liked to plough in the fields because he liked the oxen.   He made a private vow to remain chaste in 1630 and in 1633 fell ill to the point of near death that he pledged to join the Order of Friars Minor if he were to be healed of his ailment.   His parents encouraged his call to become a priest but was a poor student and could not read or write much so there was no hope he would excel in advanced studies.

He felt a desire to serve in the missions in India and later became inspired from the lives of Saints Pascal Baylon and Salvador of Horta – who were both professed religious. Marchioni was admitted into the order at the San Francesco convent in 1635 at Nazzano; he received the habit of the order on 18 May 1635.   He later recounted that he did so out of a desire to live a poor life and to beg alms “for the love of Christ”.   He again set his heart on the missions but poor health halted this dream.

He lived the life of a religious and never requested ordination to the priesthood despite the protests of his parents to do so.   He made his solemn profession into the order on 19 May 1636 into the hands of Father Angelo Maria and his religious name was “Cosmas” at first but his mother’s insistence saw it changed to “Carlo”.   He worked at a range of jobs in various friaries:  he cooked and served as a porter and also worked as both a sacristan and gardener;  he also went out into the streets as a beggar.   He was not qualified in all of them as he became notorious for setting the kitchen of one house on fire.   From 1640 to 1642 he was stationed at the convent of Saint John the Baptist at Piglio and at San Francesco at Castel Gandolfo.   In October 1648 he attended Mass at the church of San Giuseppe a Capo le Case and a beam of light emanated from an elevated Host that pierced his side and left a visible open wound at his side.

118charles6

Though he was not a priest he was instructed to write the account of his life after his confessor requested it of him.   The result was “The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God” which was well-read;  he went on to write several other books.   Though he kept himself under the guidance of a spiritual director he himself – though not a priest – was often sought for spiritual advice and even Pope Innocent X and Alexander VII sought him out for advice.   In 1656 he tended to victims of cholera at Carpineto.   On 22 August 1664 he was at San Pietro in Montorio when he fell ill with malarial fever and so was taken to San Francesco a Ripa to recuperate;  he recovered on 30 August after bed rest was prescribed to him.   On 28 July 1665 he had a vision of Pope Saint Victor I and Saint Teresa of Ávila.

 

Pope Clement IX summoned him to his deathbed for comfort and a blessing not long before the two men died.   In the first week of December 1669 the pope summoned him but the friar was ill so was taken to the pope on a chair.   He greeted the pope: “Holy Father, how are you?” and the pope responded:  “As well as God wants me to be”.   Present in the room was Cardinal Giacomo Rospigliosi and the friar asked him to bless the pope with a special relic he carried but the pope wanted the frail friar to bless him and so he did.   Clement IX asked when the two would meet again and the friar told him it would be on the feast of the Epiphany to which those present thought the pope would get well and the two would meet in a month.   But the pope died on 9 December and people questioned how the friar was wrong though after the friar died on the Epiphany itself it was realised the pope would greet him as a friend in Heaven thus the two met again.

On 31 December 1669 he was forced to his bed due to pleurisy.    On 6 January 1670 he died in the convent attached to San Francesco a Ripa in Rome;  he was buried in that church.

The confirmation of his life of heroic virtue allowed for Pope Clement XIV to title the late Franciscan friar as Venerable on 14 June 1772 while the ratification of two miracles attributed to his intercession on 1 October 1881 allowed for Pope Leo XIII to preside over the beatification celebration on 22 January 1882 in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Pope Pius XII confirmed two additional miracles on 7 January 1958 but died before he could canonise the friar; Pope John XXIII canonised him on 12 April 1959 as a saint.

Published works
Birth of Holy Mary’s Novena
Christmas Novena
Holy Settenario
Invalid Path of the Soul
Jesus Christ’s Talk about Life
The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God
The Three Ways

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY NAME, The WORD

May you be Blessed today on the Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus 3 January 2018

May you be Blessed today on the Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
3 January 2018

The name of Jesus is the glory of preachers

From a sermon by Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest (Sermo 49, De glorioso Nomine Iesu Christi, cap 2: Opera omnia, 4. 505-506) – Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

“The name of Jesus is the glory of preachers because the shining splendour of that name causes His word to be proclaimed and heard.   And how do you think such an immense, sudden and dazzling light of faith came into the world, if not because Jesus was preached?   Was it not through the brilliance and sweet savour of this name that God called us into  His marvelous light?   When we have been enlightened and in that same light behold the light of heaven, rightly may the apostle Paul say to us:  Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.

So this name must be proclaimed, that it may shine out and never be suppressed.   But it must not be preached by someone with sullied mind or unclean lipsbut stored up and poured out from a chosen vessel.   That is why our Lord said of Saint Paul:  He is a chosen instrument of mine, the vessel of my choice, to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel.   In this chosen vessel there was to be a drink more pleasing than earth ever knew, offered to all mankind for a price they could pay, so that they would be drawn to taste of it.   Poured into other chosen vessels, it would grow and radiate splendour.   For our Lord said:  He is to Carry my name.

When a fire is lit to clear a field, it burns off all the dry and useless weeds and thorns. When the sun rises and darkness is dispelled, robbers, night-prowlers and burglars hide away.   So when Paul’s voice was raised to preach the Gospel to the nations, like a great clap of thunder in the sky, his preaching was a blazing fire carrying all before it.   It was the sun rising in full glory.   Infidelity was consumed by it, false beliefs fled away and the truth appeared like a great candle lighting the whole world with its brilliant flame.

By word of mouth, by letters, by miracles and by the example of his own life, Saint Paul bore the name of Jesus wherever he went.   He praised the name of Jesus at all times but never more than when bearing witness to his faith.   Moreover, the Apostle did indeed carry this name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel as a light to enlighten all nations.   And this was his cry wherever he journeyed:  The night is passing away, the day is at hand.  Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light;  let us conduct ourselves honourably as in the day.   Paul himself showed forth the burning and shining light set upon a candlestick, everywhere proclaiming Jesus, and Him crucified.

And so the Church, the bride of Christ strengthened by his testimony, rejoices with the psalmist, singing:  0 God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.   The psalmist exhorts her to do this, as he says, Sing to the Lord and bless his name, proclaim his salvation day after day.   And this salvation is Jesus, her saviour.” (Psalm 96:2)psalm 96 2

Prayer

Father,
you gave St Bernardine a special love
for the holy name of Jesus.
By the help of his prayers,
may we always be alive with the spirit of Your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.